BDG: Crittenton Gets Time To Shine

BDG: Crittenton Gets Time To Shine

Postby BDG on Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:31 am

BDG wrote:Crittenton Gets Time To Shine
by BDG - January 5th, 2008

Maybe it was getting blown out by the relevant-again Boston Celtics. Maybe it was getting beaten down while wearing short shorts. Whatever it was, the Los Angeles Lakers came into Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers with a purpose.

The team suited up down 3 players — Vladimir Radmanovic and Sasha Vujacic sat with sprained ankles, while Lamar Odom was banned from STAPLES Center via a one-games suspension for tackling Boston’s Ray Allen.

Nevertheless, the Lakers did something that they have had trouble with in recent seasons. They didn’t just keep Philly out of the game — they stepped on their throats, pushing the lead to 38 at one point. While partial credit is due to a lack of effort on the opposition’s part, this was accomplished through a dismantling of the Sixers’ poor interior defense.

An encouraging sign, even in a victory against lesser competition. What arguably was more encouraging was seeing seven Lakers in double-figures in the box score.

The leader in that column? None other than rookie Javaris Crittenton, who finished with a career-high 19 points.

As a victim of a deep, playoff-bound squad, Crittenton’s playing time has been sporadic at best. Prior to this contest only twice had he registered double figures in minutes.

While many have engaged in debate over who is the Lakers’ point guard of the future between Crittenton and Laker sophomore Jordan Farmar, it’s clear that great potential is there for both.

Filling in at Vujacic’s role of backup shooting guard behind Kobe Bryant, Crittenton displayed what he can often bring to a team when given playing time.

His greatest skill, at the moment, is his penchant for breaking the defense down with off-the-dribble penetration. Crittenton got himself to the line, scored on a few spectacular layups and most importantly, created easy scoring opportunities for his teammates.

In one instance Crittenton delivered a dazzling no-look dish in the paint to Kwame Brown.

Either it was right on the money or Brown had superglue on his hands, because he actually caught the thing. And he finished.

Perhaps Javaris may have made an impression on Phil Jackson and the rest of the Laker coaching staff, but he likely will be relegated to the bench yet again when Sasha makes his return.

Nevertheless, while Philadelphia hardly put up a challenge defensively, the game served as a preview of Crittenton’s natural abilities at the NBA level. The athleticism he possesses simply can’t be taught. Neither can his intuitive feel for the game.

Having just turned 20 on New Year’s Eve, Javaris not only has a bright future, but plenty of time to mature as a basketball player, soaking up the knowledge of the league’s best wingman in Kobe Bryant and an experienced coaching staff.

Should Javaris receive some of Sasha’s minutes? Ask Phil.

Until then, Jackson may roll with the relative veteran. Although the future can always change.
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Postby 2Pacalypse on Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:57 am

Great job chief... nice read.

Critt some be getting some playing time... I know Phil doesn't like playing rookies, but he should be getting all of Stinky's minutes.

I would like to see the coaching staff play Farmar and Critt in the back court instead of Farmar and Stinky.

Do you think Critt is going to get more minutes in the second half of the season?
Props to the FO drafting Critt. :jam2:
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Postby BDG on Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:06 am

Nissan wrote:Do you think Critt is going to get more minutes in the second half of the season?
No, but I could be wrong. I feel like Phil will stick with Sasha there to give the second unit another shooter.

In addition, Sasha has shown better defensive effort than Crittenton, only because he's gotten much more playing time. Even with his faults, he gives the team a guy that can chase catch & shoot players around screens. So I put my money on Phil keeping Sasha in there at the moment.

However, that could all change if Radmanovic snaps out of the funk he's in. Farmar and Crittenton in the backcourt would give the team two players to break down the defense and potentially kick it out to Walton/Radmanovic if the opposition collapses on them.

I think he'll see some more playing time next season after we perform a small trade this offseason. That's my best guess.

Then again, Sasha was in the doghouse earlier this year before Mo Evans was dealt. So it's not impossible that Crittenton assumes his minutes, especially since the two are just competing for a backup role.
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Slava laughed at the suggestion his skills might be affected by the down time. "Are you kidding?" he said. "Basketball is like ball. It's all a circle."

BEST VIDEO EVER ... AND AND THE SECOND BEST.
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Postby JSM on Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:25 pm

Nice writeup BDG.

I think our young guard will still see his share of DNPs. I doubt his MPG will jump much, if any. He'll probably finish the year averaging under 9 MPG (barring a trade or injury).

Phil isn't going to play Critt just because he wants playing time. He's going to go with the more experienced Sasha until Critt proves to him that he has earned Sasha's role on the team. To most of us, that point has already arrived. Phil however is much tougher to impress. I guess having MJ and Kobe your entire career will desensitize to a little to what Critt did last night.

I'm fine with situational learning. And I think that is how Phil is using Javaris right now. I just hope he uses him more in the right situations. He mentioned before the Philly game that Critt wasn't a patient kid and that he needs to be, meaning he'll probably have to pick out a couple splinters out of his rear at the end of the season. I think he used the Celtics game as a message. Critt thought he was ready, so he threw him out there against the best of the best and maybe that gave him a trip back to reality. Don't forget Crittenton had ROY aspirations this year.

There are 11 situational games left where I would like to see him get at least 20 minutes. Suns, Mavs, and the Warriors play a tempo in which Critt is extremely comfortable with and Phil could play him at SG or PG, because those 3 teams go small. The Grizz don't play quite as small, but Iavaroni likes to push the ball as much as possible.

1/8: Grizz
1/13: Grizz
1/17: Suns
1/25: Mavs
2/20: Suns
3/2: Mavs
3/18: Mavs
3/23: Warriors
3/24: Warriors
3/28: Grizz
4/4: Mavs

If Phil followed that outline, Critt would still be a part of March Madness...NBA edition. 5 big games in the month of March. If he preforms as well as I think he would in the month of March that would give him loads of confidence entering the final month of the season. And he would be ready to explode off the bench in the playoffs. We all know how much Phil loves his secret weapons in the playoffs. I think Critt could be a BIG one come the latter part of April, depending on the opponent.
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Postby revgen on Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:20 pm

Andrew Bynum only played 7 minutes a game his rookie year. Critter is getting the same treatment. It's not because he can't play, it's because Phil has a team that is currently playing at .600 ball and therefore can afford to keep a rookie player like Critter grounded.
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Postby BDG on Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:25 pm

revgen wrote:Andrew Bynum only played 7 minutes a game his rookie year. Critter is getting the same treatment. It's not because he can't play, it's because Phil has a team that is currently playing at .600 ball and therefore can afford to keep a rookie player like Critter grounded.
Well I think Critt's a much more polished rookie than Bynum was. Aside from the fact that it's often faster/easier for guards to develop than big men, this is because Javaris spent a year at Georgia Tech while Bynum barely even played high school ball.

Personally I didn't think Bynum was ready to receive any more PT than what he got in his first year. Javaris is ready to play right now, we're just too deep a team for Phil to play a rookie in his mind ... so I agree there.

JSM wrote:I think he used the Celtics game as a message. Critt thought he was ready, so he threw him out there against the best of the best and maybe that gave him a trip back to reality. Don't forget Crittenton had ROY aspirations this year.
You might be right there. Overall I'm with you -- I've been content with Phil holding onto the reins with Javaris right now. However, he definitely needs to assume a larger role next season.
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Slava laughed at the suggestion his skills might be affected by the down time. "Are you kidding?" he said. "Basketball is like ball. It's all a circle."

BEST VIDEO EVER ... AND AND THE SECOND BEST.
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Postby JSM on Sat Jan 05, 2008 8:12 pm

BDG wrote:
revgen wrote:Andrew Bynum only played 7 minutes a game his rookie year. Critter is getting the same treatment. It's not because he can't play, it's because Phil has a team that is currently playing at .600 ball and therefore can afford to keep a rookie player like Critter grounded.
Well I think Critt's a much more polished rookie than Bynum was. Aside from the fact that it's often faster/easier for guards to develop than big men, this is because Javaris spent a year at Georgia Tech while Bynum barely even played high school ball.

Definitely. Bynum's first exposure to basketball was in HS. Critt started playing basketball at age 5 and never looked back. He had about a 10 year head start on Bynum and one year of competitive college ball.
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